tv Muslim Public Affairs Council - Law Enforcement Civil Rights CSPAN January 6, 2018 10:40pm-11:20pm EST
reached a definitive conclusion about it. host: professor, thank you so much. your book is "the day the presses stopped: a history of the pentagon papers case." you can find xxx kksd c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. sunday morning we'll take a look at the future of healthcare and what changes congress is considering this year with julie rovner. and the latest on the protests in iran plus the trump administration's response with foundation for defense of democracys. c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern sunday morning. join the discussion.
>> the muslim public affairs council hosted a discussion on national security and civil rights as part of their annual convention in los angeles. it's 40 minutes. >> good afternoon everyone. for those who don't know my name is seema ahmad the chair for the public affairs council. thank you so much for joining us. i am personally thrilled about the panel discussion we have lined up first for you. i'll do very brief introductions of each of our speakers, kick it off with a couple questions, then we'll hear them have a conversation about the issue of policing and national security on one hand and civil rights and civil liberties on the other. is mediately to my left the chaired professor of law at
usc teaching torts and criminal law and he has written and spoken extensively about the criminal justice system, race, mass incarceration, and we're thrilled to have you, jody. thank you. and next to professor armor is mike downing former deputy chief of the los angeles police department. mike was with lapd for 35 years. recently retired but gave his entire professional career to the department and is a very, very special friend of the muslim public affairs council and of our community, mike. we really appreciate you being here today. i'm going to kick it right off and start with a question to you, mike. you hear stories in the american muslim community of amilies who, let's say, have a
sourn daughter they think is potentially involved in something nefarious or has traveled overseas and they don't know where their son went or they think they've fallen in with the wrong crowd and these well meaning parents take it upon themselves to contact the f.b.i. or federal law enforcement out of a source of desperation that they don't know where their child is. the next thing they experience is their son is slapped with a terrorism prosecution and is looking at spending the rest of his life in federal prison. that's the reality of some of the stories we've seen coming ut of these terrorism cases. the question for you, mike, given that sort of environment and those stories and that dynamic and given that law forcement is institutionally positioned for intercepting terrorism cases and crime, can there be trust between the american muslim community and law enforcement?
f so, how? mike: thank you. this is the first time i'm speaking as a civilian. i don't have a badge and i don't have a gun on. i'm really kind of liberated now. not that i ever held back in terms of what i thought or advocated on this issue, but for so long we've always said that there's got to be some middle ground here. there's got to be something in between the prevention and interdiction and prosecution. we learned really hard lessons. condi rice actually helped teach us many of these lessons with the whole gang epidemic that we thought we could arrest our way out of the problem. the declaration of the war on gangs, you know, you can't declare war on your own citizens for one. secondly, it wasn't really until we saw there is some
middle space, ability to intervene, to teach, to talk about character development, youth development, job placement, mental health resources, things like that. i know the criticism in this space has been that, yeah. when this happens it's almost this agent profe ok tour type of strategy where sometimes there is a perception that law enforcement has taken some of these individuals to places they never dreamed of going. so i think there are opportunities to intervene from a community side and also from a law enforcement side. now, will it happen with the law enforcement side? it's going to take a while. it's going to take a lot of deposits being -- a lot of credits in the bank for good things that are happening in the community to build up that trust. right now it's probably not there in this space. but law enforcement and mmunity trust, it's really
about relationships and relational. it's not so much transactional but transformational. and we've learned over time that, you know, anything could happen anywhere in the united states with the law enforcement agency and it doesn't matter if it happened in new york or washington, d.c. but we feel it here. because it says it's all of law enforcement. so i think that there's a lot of work to do in this space. i know that lapd has developed an intervention program that is owned by the mental health discipline, so it's really not law enforcement sent rick but law enforcement is involved in it. is it being used? certainly not as much as it can be used. certainly not as much as impacts program safe spaces. but i think as this continues to evolve and, unfortunately, as this threat continues to
evolve, it's going to get worse before it gets better as we've seen, you know, we had our first vehicle ramming ibs dent in manhattan -- incident in manhattan where for the first time since 9/11 there had been casualties in a terrorist attack in new york. i think that is kind of the decentralization of the threat we're seeing across europe, africa, and the united states. but we've always said that communities are our strength. what we can do to exploit that and leverage that and build trust in that space is just crucial because it can't be us against them. it's got to be a collaborative effort. we have a long way to go. and this relationship is very fragile. but i'm very hopeful because i think that there's a lot of people in my business that, you know, the team that i left, they completely understand this issue and they know that outreach and engagement and problem solving in all areas
not just terrorism -- earthquake preparedness, fire hazards, crime, narcotics, gangs, all of that when it becomes routine and natural, then we don't have this white elephant in the room that we're afraid to talk about. seema: thank you, mike. jody, let me turn to you and see if you have any thoughts on what mike said especially any comparatives to the work you've done on the criminal justice system and prosecution and relationships with law enforcement. jody: yeah, well, we have to be clear that when we have -- we call on law enforcement to intervene in a situation like you're describing and you're oping they'll intervene in a beneficent way that a lot of times you're calling on a punitive expression from the state, because a lot of what's happening on the street with handcuffs and aut matich weapons is often a kind of punitive take on, for example,
downtown on skid row. right around the corner from here on -- in 2006 we started the safer cities initiative. the city of l.a. deployed an additional 80 officers in the nickel making l.a. one of the most heavily policed neighborhoods, the most heavily policed urban air why in the nation. and at the time they were doing that, they were under a consent decree that said you had to end the military approach, the zero tolerance approach, which they did in places like south central, etcetera, but not on skid row with the safer cities initiative. zero , they went to a tolerance, broken windows approach, and were citing people and putting them in handcuffs and having them appear to take care of that citation by simply going to one of the megashelters and
entering a 12-step program that would repair you as an individual because of course the reason you're on the street is because you are broken inside. you have an internal deficiency, part of the culture of poverty thesis that started back with moynihan and before really with michael harrington and his book "the other america" and has carried forward with our thinking that what poor people have is a pathology that needs to be cured in some way. and so what you wound up with there was a punitive approach to poverty governance using the police force to step in and issue the -- the citations are there. the numbers don't lie. the number of citations and arrests for all kinds of minor infractions, the courts had to step in and say you can't constitutionally do that. right? that is invading their dignity too much, right?
and it was all in the name not of retribution, retaliation, revenge, but therapy. it was therp -- therapeutic, paternalistic punitiveness. whenever we bring police in to solve a problem, recognize it has the potential -- it's a punitive -- punitive by nature almost. all right? when it comes in. it doesn't have to be -- unfortunately, the approach i'm about has turned police officers into street level social workers, you know, who are making therapeutic decisions about -- rather than seeing poverty as a problem of a lack of jobs, i mean skid row as a problem of a lac du flambeau jobs and affordable ousing, macro level external factors, we focus on their internal brokenness which absolves us. not that there aren't people who need health care and mental health care. that leaves 55% who don't fit the mold but we're treating
them with this coercive benevolence. so i say as a general matter i worry when it comes to, in cases like you're talking about, asking the police to come in and in a beneficent role to resolve an issue. i'm not saying it can't be done. i'm just saying you can understand the skepticism. we need to build that trust so i feel like i can call the police officer to help me with my son or daughter. you know, who without him using stereotypes about my son or daughter and people i'm from against them when they are supposed to be intervening on their behalf. right? and police are people, too. and all people have biases. all people have unconscious stereotypes and prejudice. they're going to naturally find their way -- going to express themselves in police work. it takes constant vigilance to keep that down. >> do you want to respond,
mike? mike: in this case we had to do something because the community didn't really know what to do and they knew if they called the f.b.i. to say, hey, my son or daughter is in the basement, been watching videos, changed their dress, their appearance, their day caror, i don't know what to do, they'd see prosecutions. so law enforcement, unfortunately, is called upon upon to solve many of society's issues. we want to help. that is our nature. we're public servants. so that is why we kind of put mental health, department of mental health as the lead in this but with a law enforcement up at the table so that we can offer alternatives. i'm not saying it's the silver bullet. i'm not saying it's the final solution to this problem. but it's law enforcement's way of saying, look, it's not just about pursuit, it's not just about locking somebody up, it's not just about a rule-based society. it's about this balance between
a care-based approach and a law, the rule of law based approach. and to show that we are part of the community. we care about the community. we want the community's input. we want the community to be engaged with us in this problem solving approach so that it st doesn't become a rule based centered method for cops to do their work. i think for the sustainability of even law enforcement, they need that for their own psychology. they need the community's input. they need to be engaged with families, because they have families themselves, so that it's not a soldierrcd fear but public servant that is involved in inspiring values, protecting values, education, creating this inspiration in
communities. so i think for the sustainability of law institutions they need that kind of feedback. it can't just be respond tog radio calls and arresting people. there has to be a transformational relationship with communities. seema: do you have something, jody? jody: yeah. one issue i want us -- i don't want to miss the opportunity for us to talk about some is profiling since that is so central to the experience of so many black folks, so many muslims, so many immigrants, you know, latinos, etcetera. so there are a lot of socially marginalized groups who have to ruggle with being profiled not only by law enforcement but private gender, taxi cabs, across a range of social experiences you can have. officers, s that
again, being just people, too, lot of people think it is ok to profile people if there is a statistically rational basis for the profiling. a relationship for example between crime and race. why can't i consider someone's race when i am trying to assess the dangerousness of an ambiguous person? i consider their gender. yes. i consider their age. someone 18 versus 90. yes. do i consider their disability status? yes. whether they're in a wheelchair or not? yes. why can't i consider race as just one additional, rationally related factor to an assessment i'm trying to make, right? that is the heart of profiling, statistically rational. when somebody like jesse jackson says nothing more troubles me with an all black congregation, nothing troubles me more than to walk down the reet, hear suspicious foot
steps, think it is a robbery, turn around and see a white face and feel relieved. when jesse jackson says that the fact he is getting at is it should saden but not surprise you to fine them turning to desperate things like crime. you plunk them down in these conditions, no surprise crime rates are higher, right? but then what does that mean? you know, for law enforcement for example. if it is rational to consider, should law enforcement consider it in any way when they are making their assessments of ambiguous people under ifferent circumstances, right? i just want to be sure we put that to bed. show that argument should cut no ice, carry no water, and here is why. therefore an officer should internalize this morality when it comes to treating people equally in -- and discharging their obligations.
the aclu president some years back tells the story of a black couple taking in a movie in times square in the early 1970's when times square was more of a mixed use kind of place. not disney family friendly like now, right? but it was misused. and there was a black daughter, i'm sorry, black doctor and his wife five months' pregnant. finished watching a movie at 11:00 p.m. came out. it was rainy. he told her he'd get the car, wait under the marquee. when he got back he'd been arrested. she was gone. he discovered she'd been arrested, strip searched, and booked for loitering with the intent to prostitute. all right. let's assume, perhaps counterfactually, but let's assume at the time the officer made that arrest a disproportionate amount of prostitution activity was taken into play between the hours of 10:00 and 2:00 a.m. a disproportionate amount was being carried on in times
square. disproportionate amount carried on by unescorted women. and that a disproportionate amount was being carried on by women of color. say all of that is true. then he would say, oh, i made a rational determination. it was a rational inference i drew. rational judgment. rational profiling. the reason we don't buy that, the reason we find what he did so odious even if he is able to say it was in some sense rational, is given the social consequences of error, if he is mistaken, there is some risk of error and given the social consequences of that if that risk of error is realized, he should have waited longer, reduced risk of error more before acting on that belief. he should have waited until he saw more people come along for example. do ould have done more to
more. he may have rational grounds but his actions aren't reasonable because to make a reasonableness determination you have to make a value judgment. you are balancing competing interests. you can't reduce reasonable to rational. anybody who is making profiling discussions, you keep bringing that home. ration ain't reason. i want to hear about statistical rationality of standing alone. yes we all consider that. like i said we consider gender a lot of the times in ambiguous situations at night. ou know, or disability status. but don't think that resolves the issue in any way. that i just kind wanted to --. now getting on to say that i alize that even though it is statistically considered to consider this factor i'm not going to. i am going to let certain value judgments keep me from falling
into ordinary human pro-pence 'tis like considering that factor. mike: if i could bring it back to the muslim public affairs council and the muslim communities, profiling is wrong. it is illegal. it is despicable. but what we've always talked about with, for example, the suspicious activity reporting campaign, you know, when we first came out to campaign, many people in the community were up in arms about this. you're profiling us. it is about what we're wearing, what we believe in. that's about how we look. and so we actually gave the whole campaign and program to impact. there's a whole team that looked at it. they critiqued it. they said, look. we don't like this part of it. this is what you could do better. we adopted i think 98% of the recommendations and published it. we turned it into a special order. basically the theme was we don't believe in profiling. this is not about profiling people.
it's about profiling behavior. if that behavior is criminal or suspicious as it relates to preoperational planning or any kind of terrorist planning that is what we need to know about and report about. the reason i brought that up is because this was a problem solving issue that the police and community did together. we could go ahead and dictate and have this program but if the community is not invested in it, there is no value in it. we had something that the community said this is really from us, our critique. we took it. we published it. we educated and taught it. i'm trying not to be polyanna about this because i know there are instances where they're pro- -- where the profiling takes place. i have seen it with my own eyes. i've disciplined officers for it. part of getting over that is to have this community buy in, this community participation in the problem solving effort. we could have taken our ideas and turned them into a special
order and educated our police officers on how to carry it out but you would still have been suspicious about it. as it is now some people are still suspicious about it. at least there is policy that says we don't believe in profiling people. we do believe in profiling behavior that could be criminal or potentially criminal. you : mike, as i'm hearing i'm picturing if i was a young muslim man, a teenager or in my 20's. i have nothing to do with criminal behavior. i have nothing to do with issues around national security. i mean, the cases we're talking about are who knows what percent of relevance to the vast majority of the muslim community? we don't have, you know, not
that you're suggesting it but we don't have some -- there are no secret cells, no, like, interconnectedness between all of us. , are just going to work taking care of our families, going to school. my question along a more psychological standpoint is this lens of being viewed through national security. even when it comes to partnership, the partnership is still through the lens of national security. i guess my question for you is, mike, what are your thoughts about how that can affect our young people and what we can do to mitigate that trauma. >> i think it stigmatizes young people and it is really heart breaking to see young people have this identity crisis. to not be able to articulate at it is to be an american
muslim. what that identity means and what value that brings to the best of our society. so i think over time i've been engaged with the muslim american communities for the past 11 years in my work. you know, prior to 9/11, to me, it was an invisible community. in fact, when i was a young police officer and the mosque was built right outside usc, we were told don't go anywhere near it. you're not allowed in there. there was just this very mysterious -- so we were always kind of saying, wow. i don't know what goes on in there but, you know, when i got into this business it was just like any other community with the lgbtq community, african-american community, hispanic community. put in , i didn't get counterterrorism because of my intelligence background but because of my ability to see
the value of bringing communities together because i knew they were our strength. so the conversation needs to move beyond terrorism. look, terrorism in our country is still a low volume but high consequence threat. we're going to see it. not as much as europe. we're going to continue o to see it. but, look. we need to prepare for yakes, fires, floods. for the physical environment of our communities. what the alleys look like, street lights, cleaning up graffiti. those kinds of discussions are what we need to protect. i always looked at him as the martin luther king of the muslim community, he said, god forbid they blow up our bridges and blow up our buildings. we can rebuild those. but what we really need to protect are the values that keep us. why we came here in the first place. values of equality.
as connie rice said the rule of law. the constitution. those are the things we need to protect. with our young people to really understand what it is to be american and to have all those rights amongst us and to understand the civil nature of all that and to participate. so i would ask in these town of you ings, how many are involved in the community police advisory board? how many are involved in neighborhood watch and chambers of commerce, those organizations where we really need to listen, have your voice, listen to your voice? participate in this greater idea, find ways to leap beyond the walls of your own institution. don't be isolated. i think that will help. terrorism and crime and enemy. s is not the
complacency is. jody: i like the way you are framing the question. you say do we start by looking at these people through a lens of security or a lens of civil rights? where do we start? you know? and why not -- we too often don't start with the lens of civil rights, with the constitutionally protected i have a right to be treated as an individual and not profiled for example. and that right is actually rooted in the constitution for a reason because it is supposed of esist the siren call fears about security, safety. that's why it's in the constitution. the reason for a constitutional right, the constitutional right is like ulysses tying himself to the mast, right, tying himself to the coil protecting his -- himself from a later, baser self. this higher self when he is
responding to the higher angels of his nature. he says, you know, respect individual rights even when it's costly and inconvenient. damn it. we should respect them. right? that's what a copyright says. you're tying yourself to the mast. the problem is too often you have lawyers and judges and hers and law enforcement who are hacking away at ulysses' self-imposed coils in the name of siren justice, listening to that warble from the rocks about expediency and convenience and security and safety and start to sacrifice l of these individual rights for that. so many are hacking away at the coils in the name of siren justice. we have to keep on bringing home that is what it means to constitutionally police, to be motivated, animated, driven by this respect for constitutional rights even when it's inconvenient.
even when it is damn burdensome. that's why we call it a copyright. seema: thank you, jody. i have a related question based on some of your work. you've written about communities of color, black communities. you've proposed the idea that if i could paraphrase it correctly, that in some black communities there is the idea of the sort of good black man and the bad black man and the maybe k man is poor s. he's got a record. maybe he doesn't have a job. and the good black man maybe lives in your neighborhood, is middle class, or upper middle class, and so there is a separation within the community between good and bad. and i'd like to propose an idea that maybe that can happen in the muslim community as well. that a good muslim is an assimilated muslim.
someone maybe who speaks a certain way or looks a certain way or acts a certain way socially or at work. and i'd like you to comment on that theory that you posited, maybe comment on how you've seen it play out in the black community, and what lessons are there for the american muslim community to not fall into the trap of our community getting more and more divided internally? jody: yeah, well certainly in the black community i've had my neighbors come to me for example, i live in butte park in what "l.a. times" referred to several months ago as the black beverly hills. you've got a lot of upper middle class black folk who live in butte park baldwin hills, windsor hills. i've had my neighbors come to e and tell me when i've had my gatherings at my house, my sons, my three sons, all play
pop warner football, little league baseball, aau basketball, so they made friends all over the city, you know, all places far flung, so when their friends would visit them, i've had neighbors come to me and say we don't want compton up here. i've had a sheriff's deputy tell my event planner we don't want south central up here. even though we live in south central. but up here. right? but up here. right? and there is this politics of respectability approach that you find in the black community and i think there are analogs for lots of communities who are dealing with us/them divides within the community. within the black community it's been a lot of times long lines defined by law enforcement. that is good negros and bad negros. randal kennedy a black law professor at our law school wrote a book in 1997 in which
he exhorted the black community to practice respectability in criminal matters by distinguishing between good negros, law abiding blacks, and bad negros, blacks caught up in the criminal justice system in any way. chris rock, we get to speak frankly now, right, chris rock who launched his comedic career since people are often putting a mic in front of him for social commentary, especially on racial justice issues, here's how he launched his comedic career. he walked back and forth in front of a mostly black audience and said, let me see if i can remember the routine. i'm going to be pretty close, the first few lines t's like a civil war going on in black america and there's two sides. there's black people and there's niggers and niggers have got to go. i love black people but i hate niggers. i wish they'd let me join the ku klux klan. i'd do a drive by here to
brooklyn. he went on like that for 45 minutes. his core definition of an n word, a nigger, was a black who's done a crime. so according to that definition he was inviting us to engage in, he was saying the up to 90%, some of our neighborhoods when i put this in my latest article they had me -- they said, professor, this sounds hyperbolic. up to 90% of young black males in some of the inner city neighborhoods will end up in jail or on parole at some point of their lives. you're saying up to 90% of them are niggers? yes. do the math. plain and simple. that particular distinction may seem like a moral distinction but when you look at the middle class black crime rates and middle class crime rates they're roughly the same. so most of those bad national league rose are coming from the -- bad negros are coming from the ranks of truly disadvantaged blacks, the vast majority. what you have really a class distinction masquerading as a porl distinction.
that's why they were saying, keep compton out of here. we don't want south central up here. ey were practicing spatial profiling. right? the who are always railing against racial profiling practiced spatial profiling ourselves. when we got the chance. so, yeah. that is the kind of politics that have finally been under assault for the last three to four years really. black lives matter has made it a part of their agenda to attack any politics of respectability in criminal matters. just because a person took a loaf of bread doesn't mean you get to shoot them in the back five times. we're not going to play respectability politics. like bill cosby did when he got he 2004 emmy award and he said , people are crying about that black kid getting shot over the
pound cake. why did he take the pound cake? i've been hungry and looked in the window and didn't take pound cake. you know why? something called upbringing. you have that kind of moralizing coming from a hypocrite like him who was shipping mickeys into women's drinks. but he's going to moralize all of these bad negros. d rest on -- represent huxtable the black upper echelon. so that is how us/them, good negro/bad negro played out, policy and criminal matters and respectability within the black community. seema: thank you, jody. our time has flown by so i want to just give the closing couple of minutes to mike to close out your thoughts and then you'll both be here for folks to speak with you more in more detail.
thank you. mike? mike. . thank you. it's so good to see all of you today. you know, over the 10 years we worked together, i saw times where we ebbed and flowed and there were good times, challenging and struggling times, but i often think it is probably good to prepare us for what is to be the future. and i think we're in for some real challenging future now with the way politics are going, with the way society in general is going, with the way the evolution of this threat is evolving. but always remember that this is our strength. you are our strength. all of the communities throughout our country are our strength. never let anybody demonize or isolate or silo any community, because this is your right, to speak out. as much as possible, i would engage in organizations outside of what you normally do.
join the chambers of commerce. join the neighborhood watch groups. join the police advisory boards. get on commissions. find ways to -- i don't like that word "assimilate." that is just a word that i've often just stayed away from because if we assimilate we'll all be like each other and the strength of our country is not that. the strength of our country is this diversity that we have. we should appreciate the food, the fashion, the beliefs, the cultures, the lifestyles. and find ways so our youth can also see that and appreciate that. i think that we have an opportunity to be a model for the rest of the world if we get it right. we have a lot of work to do in this country and keep fighting and remember that terrorism and crime and narcotics and gangs isn't the enemy. complacency is the enemy.
seema: thank you both very, very much. thank you. [applause] xxx >> sunday night on "afterwards" federal met judge john newman looks back at his 38-year judicial career in his book "benched" and is interviewed by connecticut democratic senator richard blumenthal. >> as a judge of 45 years having gone from that active life of making decisions and going to court and advocating a case, was that a difficult transition for you? did you ever miss the life of advocacyy so to speak? >> it wasn't difficult. it has been for some -- i've known people who became judges and so disliked the decision making process that they left the bench.
i was an advocate. i was glad to be an advocate. i found the decision making process, while it was different, enormously challenging, enormously satisfying. while i liked being an attorney i got to say i loved being a judge because the opportunity to resolve disputes, large and small, they all matter to somebody, some of them have large political, public significance, and that's a very satisfying role. >> watch "after words" sunday . ght on book tv on c-span 2 >> president trump has finished his meeting with republican congressional leadership and some cabinet members at camp david. the president took questions from the news media. this is 20 minutes.